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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Manasseh - the Old Testament Prodigal Son

Manasseh was an unique and privileged individual. He was born during the 15 years that were added to his father Hezekiah's life. He was a royal prince brought up in the palace of a king. He went on to succeed his father upon the throne of Judah. He was also the Old Testament's prodigal son!

We read of Manasseh in 2 Kings 21 v 1-18; 2 Chronicles 33 v 10-13.

I. Manasseh was a Privileged but Wayward King. 
For all his privileges in the royal house:

He lived in complete opposition to the ways of his father. Manasseh scorned that which his father worshipped; and worshipped that which his father scorned. Of Hezekiah it is said that: he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. Of Manasseh it is said: he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

He practiced idolatry. Bad enough for Manasseh for forsake the ways of his father. But he also practised wickedness on a grand scale. Every form of idolatry was found in Jerusalem. Every strange god was worshipped. Baalim is worshipped. The host of heaven also. A carved image was set up in the Temple.

His sin was all the greater because of his privilege. Manasseh is spoken of as doing worse than the heathen. These acts of idolatry and wickedness were made worse by the degree of knowledge he had as an individual. Sin is made all the worse because of light and knowledge.

He and the people refused to listen to reproofs. v10; 2 Kings 21:10-. God spoke in warning but he would not listen. He refused to hear. He was indeed a prodigal!

II. Manasseh was a Sinful but Chastened King. 
In mercy the Lord does not leave this man alone in his sins. God is going to speak to Manasseh in a way he will not be able to resist.

He moved the Assyrians against him. The Lord controls the affairs of nations and kings. He uses heathen nations as instruments of judgment. The captains of Assyria come against Manasseh. This was an act of mercy on God's part.

The Assyrians captured him. Manasseh was taken among the thorns. He must have been seeking to hide in this place. But he was captured, bound and fettered, then carried to Babylon. Circumstances had dramatically changed for the worse. This is the end of all sin.

This was a sore affliction to Manasseh. No other description could be given of the changed circumstances, other than ‘affliction’. However, it is better to be afflicted in this life than for God to leave us alone to perish in Hell. God often has a saving purpose in the troubles of life.

III. Manasseh was an Afflicted but Converted King. 
God's noble purpose in this man's life was to turn him to Himself and to save him.

Manasseh sought the Lord. He begins to pray. He begins to entreat the Lord for mercy. The affliction has reached its noble end in Manasseh. This is what the Lord sought to work in his life - a turning to the Lord. After many years he learns to pray again. To really pray!

He humbled himself. No more of the proud, haughty spirit in Manasseh as in former times. Now he is humbling himself under the mighty hand of God. He has an ear to hear the Lord.

He came to know the Lord as the only true and living God. He turns away from idolatry. Gone are the idols. He now knows Jehovah as his God. He knows that God is holy. He knows that He deals righteously with men. He knows Him to be the only One who is to be worshipped and adored.

From being a prodigal Manasseh is turned into a saint!

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